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‘We lost a neighborhood hero’ | Family, community says a final farewell to teenage shooting victim

Published: Apr. 16, 2021 at 10:47 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Family and friends gathered Friday afternoon to remember the life of an 18-year-old high school student and athlete killed by gun violence.

Memorial services will continue throughout the day Friday for Kelvin ‘KJ’ Taylor who was killed last Wednesday while standing on the corner of Glenwood Avenue and Central Avenue on Charleston’s west side.

The Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center filled Friday afternoon with KJ’s loved ones and friends who paid tribute to the teen by sharing stories and through song.

A viewing for family took place earlier Friday morning from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

During the service, Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin said KJ was a ‘superior athlete’ but ‘most importantly a good kid, with a really kind heart.’ The mayor said KJ’s parents kept him focused and motivated in school and supported him every time he stepped out on the court or the field.

The pastor of New Hope Community Church said KJ’s friends described him as a “pick you up, when you are down kind of guy.”

“One thing that everyone who knew KJ will tell you is that he knew how to brighten somebody’s day,” said Rev. Dr. Jeff E. Biddle, Jr. “He was a lot of fun. He joked and laughed all the time. He knew how to brighten somebody’s mood and he knew that he knew how to do that. He knew that he had a superpower and he didn’t mind to use that superpower all day long on his best friends or on somebody that he barely knew.”

Both Pastor Biddle and Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin said KJ loved being from the west side of Charleston.

Pastor Biddle said KJ surrounded himself with people who were working hard to be ‘a light to the world and make a positive contribution.’ He said Friday that KJ’s legacy will live on for years to come.

“His success was our success. We lost a neighborhood hero,” one of KJ’s friends told Pastor Biddle.

A memorial service that will be open to the public is set to take place on Laidley Field following the funeral proceedings.

Taylor was the victim of a shooting that occurred on Wednesday, April 7 just after 8 p.m.

This week, the vehicle of interest in this homicide case was located in Kanawha County by police.

Vehicle of interest located in teen homicide investigation

“It’s our job as a community to show up and be present,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin Friday. “Not just today. Not just tomorrow, but for the long haul. Our communities must do better. It’s on all of us. Not just to honor KJ and his legacy, but it is our job to create the best future for every single one of these beautiful faces that are in the stands today.”

Anyone with information regarding the homicide is urged to contact the Charleston Police Department Criminal Investigation Division, 304-348-6480.

Charleston community marches in response to recent violence

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